Friday, March 26, 2010

Battles, battles

The war against just-shut-up-and-get-a-degree attitudes.

Two days after Aman Kachroo’s death I wrote that it won’t be the last case of ragging death. Sadly, I was not proved wrong. Aman’s father had vowed he’ll not let another ragging death take place. He now says he feels defeated. Since then the death cases reported include those of Ankita Vegda in Ahemdabad, Sneha Dani in Mumbai, Chintumoni Bordoloi in Guwahati, Dheeraj Kumar in Amritsar, Anirban Dutta in Durgapur, Poonam Mishra in Lucknow, Satyendra Singh in Jamshedpur, Greeshma Shanker in Trivandrum, Ayan Adak in Kolkata, Prashant Chitalkar in Pune, Sridhar in Puducherry, Gaurav Sadanand Raut in Nashik, Premlatha in Kancheepuram and a few days ago, Satwinder Kumar in Mumbai.'

The column points out that 'Despite very little publicity of the (anti-ragging) helpline by the ministry, it got 1.6 lakh calls in just eight months, till February. While that is some indication of the prevalence of ragging, it is worrying that of this huge number only 350 complaints were registered and of those 350, only 18 educational institutions chose to respond'.

When will we learn to respond in time?

The war against shoot-off-your-mouthery by sulky politicos

Men will whistle in parliament because there are women around?

So, you know, perhaps they will. And not just young men. After all, men do whistle in a lot of other places when forced to set eyes upon women. But what are you trying to say?

That parliament is special? That you alone should have be privilege of working in an environment where men do not whistle?

Or are you trying to say that men are provoked to whistle only when they are confronted by 33% women. That a piffling 9% isn't enough to make the elected rep's heart sing?

Or are you saying that whistling interferes with law-making?

We have had thrashing, walk-outs, screaming and slanging, chair-throwing. I think Indian democracy and women parliamentarians can cope with whistling, if whistling happens. Thank you, Mulayam ji, for your concern. Now sit down and catch your breath... yes, that's a good boy. And save your breath, now on, for whistling in parliament. I would dearly love to see what Mayawati would do to you afterwards.

The war for trust.

Apparently, people just don't trust the media any more. Not the majority, anyway. Trust in newspapers is down from 61% to 40%.

And to think there was a time when people said 'it is written' (likha hai... humne khud padha hai) as a euphemism for incontrovertible truth. Now, they cannot even trust what they see any more. TV news is trusted even less, at 36%.

The war to get your priorities right

Read this. It is from the front page of The Times of India.

'Yet another event in Delhi had a nasty brush with its bureaucracy and red tape on Wednesday when the autumn/winter edition of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week, arguably the country’s biggest fashion event, had to cancel all shows on the first day. The reason: the Delhi Fire Service Department refused to give it permission and Delhi Police, in turn, withheld the no-objection certificate.'

Read it again, carefully - 'nasty brush' 'red tape'. The tone of the entire piece is judgmental and negative. As if the fact that the firemen insisted on the fashion world taking preventive measures was such a yawn. Clearly, some designers thought so. One has been quoted saying : ‘‘What’s this? The government needs to make some sort of special effort when it comes to events of this magnitude. We have foreign buyers standing outside in the sun. What will they think about the Indian fashion industry?'

I suppose it is alright for designers to think that way. I just have a problem with the tone adopted by the writers (or editors) of the piece. It is an editorial tone that seems to be saying: 'Permission-wormission, certificates... all that nonsense, so much bureacucracy in this place yaa, I mean, we're all dressed up now, and trying to do our thing and these guys don't even see how much trouble they're causing, why don't they just give us the damn piece of paper and get out of our way?'

Curiously, the Mirror also carried a fire department story on the same day. Five people died in a fire in Kolkata.

I wonder how much and how bitterly the same people would have complained if, god forbid, a fire had broken out at one of these 'events of this magnitude'. It would, of course, have been the fault of the fire department who did not insist upon enforcing security norms, and the police, who gave a no-objection certificate without even bothering to check ground realities.


Bhagwad Jal Park said...

You're right - so many battles, and one person can't fight them all!

The saying that we need to pick and choose our battles makes a lot of sense, else we'll just burn out.

Moulding defragmentation said...

Well argued, and well written!

R. said...

On Ragging - Would be interesting to see some research on which institutions are ragging 'hot spots' (ie insititutions that take in students through capitation fees or instituations that admit based on merit) and some more research on if the students accused of ragging have gotten into the institution due to merit based admissions or through 'Management Quota'. Having studied in an Engineering College that had both, I have an inkling of where the problem lies. And to resolve this as an issue there needs to be lots of preventive measures, which would be much more effective than a post facto helpline (though it's is a deterrant nevertheless).

On Reservation for Women in Parliament (and whistling that ensues thereof)- Mulayam maybe opposed to it for all the wrong reasons but is reservation the right way of correcting one of our oldest social inequality? Debatable.

Trust and the Media - This statistic is quite alarming but the positive side is that the parts of the media that is unbiased can and does differentiate itself from the rest of the pack.

On Priorities & Fire Brigade - I couldn't agree with you more, neither could I have written in such a simple yet thoughtful manner.

As always, a fan.

Anonymous said...

Permits and sanctions are not uncommonly linked more to the number and class of free-passes provided to the bigwigs that release them than to functional safety or logistics of the event.

An event that considers itself too big (or connected to even higher-ups) may occasionally run into trouble on this score as the babu can dig in.

This would explain the various fire accidents permits notwithstanding. While we can take a little guys pleasure at bigshots having to do the same runaround as the junta, there are no heroes here. Pick your shade of grey.


Anonymous said...

I'm the previous commenter, and that was typed too soon! (previous grr... relates to an old cricket match that somebody I knew organized)

On reading this report I realized that the fire dept had been pretty decent there and their demands quite reasonable; whats the problem the organizers had with coating the ramp in fire-resistant paint?


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